Thursday, July 12, 2007

Radiohead, "No Surprises"

A job that slowly kills you...

I Lost Money On The Long Side

Yes, that's right. The market busted out to record highs, killing short sellers and enriching "the Fly" and "the Dinosaur" still managed to lose money while buying stocks.

Clearly, this is a message from God.

"Fuck the shorts!" I yelled at no one in particular... at the screens, at the TV and I bought stocks all day long. My biggest loser of the day, TNH, actually closed negative for the day! Amazing! How do I do it? I don't know. Let's talk about TNH and maybe one of you can tell me where I went wrong.

I was patient and watched the stock for the first half hour of the day. 2 days ago, 132 acted as support and then, once the stock broke through that level, it acted as resistance. So I figured 132 was an important level that was developing. With the market strong right off the bat this morning, I was thinking of getting long the stock. So, in the first half hour it played with 132. Right after 10:00am, it broke through and I bought 400 shares at 132.25.

The stock ripped straight up a point. So perhaps I should have sold. In retrospect, I definitely should have sold. However, with the market ripping and with this stock being one of the leaders of the most recent rally, I felt confident that it could go higher. Plus, I had a point of profit as buffer should the market dip a bit.

Anyway, long story short, the stock dropped like Miss New Jersey's pants in the next half hour and stopped me out down at 131 since I was giving the stock "room". I made a couple of other, lesser trades in the stock as well. Total loss, $398.

My other loser was MLM. This I traded twice with 100 share positions and managed to lose almost a point each time. The first loss is the one that bothers me the most because I thought it was going to work out.

I bought on the 4th bar of the day, around 161.65. Again, the stock initially worked in my favor moving up to 162, but then trashed my position and my already fragile mental state by dropping like a dead bird and stopping me out at around 160.50.


Anyway, I did have a couple of good trades. One a decent long in BTJ and the other a decent long in MOS. Still, they weren't enough to really help me too much.

So what do traders do when they retire anyway? Anyone know what some ex-traders have gone on to do with their lives? I try to think about heading out to be interviewed for a job and I can't imagine what kind of skills one gets from trading that translate into the real world. Anyone have any ideas? Fire away, I'll even turn off "comment moderation".

Here's the numbers:

Best, BTJ, $220
Worst, CMI,

shares traded, 10,800
stocks traded, 12, 6 positive, 6 negative
total trades, 62

Virtual Office, $1823. Dow, +283.86, 13861.73.

Misstrade, $860 on 4000 shares traded.
HPT, $703 on 45 contracts traded.
Evolution, $510 on 37,200 shares traded.
Bubs, $118 on 2300 shares traded.
OBAT, $59 on 3000 shares traded.
Denarii, $14 on 8000 shares traded.
Me, -$441 on 10,800 shares traded.

Wow. Some day!

Still, check out the numbers in the VO... rather underwhelming.

With everything under the sun ripping it's hard to understand why it wasn't easier to make money today. Clearly, I don't have any answers.

At this point, I'm more interested in Miss New Jersey.

What can you do? Buy stocks, max out those credit cards, buy a Hummer and die happy I guess.

Maria Bartiromo and Dylan Ratigan are like high-school cheerleaders. That said, Maria would look better in a skirt.

FLASH: Miss New Jersey Is Filthy And Immoral. Blowing Up Innocent Foreigners, Still Cool.

Americans are besieged by news stories about filthy and immoral Miss New Jersey!

Overheard on supermarket line:

Woman #1: "I heard he was biting her breast!"
Woman #2: "Gasp! How filthy and immoral!"
Woman #1: "Well I, for one, hope they remove her crown!"
Woman #2: (quietly sobbing) "What has become of our once great country? Our once heralded pageant contestants are tawdry whores... people question the President..."
Woman #1: (putting arm reassuringly around woman) "It's the terrorists... and the Democrats."
Random Teenage Boy: "I think she's hot!"


Technology V. Man... Again

Ray over at Hybridtalk is back from a nice long vacation and he has posted a very interesting article from the USA Today on how technology is affecting the trading floor.

Interesting because I had no idea this "technology thing" was affecting the trading floor at all.

This is a new story for me... ah, but it's the USA Today, the paper of the fat pasty people. Surely they have a different take!

Nope, the story is the same. Human traders are making less money now. The machines are chopping large orders into thousands of tiny little ones (hence the 1x1 spreads littering the market?) and the humans don't know what the fuck to do.

They're leaving the business or hoping something will change. Some are even spending more time blogging for free rather than trade. In a way, it's hilarious. But remember, the best comedy often straddles that thin line that exists between what's funny and what's tragic... like this video clip.

Anyway, here's a quote from the article:

"Specialists' age-old money-making model — part commission, part trading profits — is basically broken. Commissions, a big part of their pay in the past, have been squeezed out of the equation. To stay alive today, specialists must make money trading just like everyone else. (For example, if a specialist buys 5,000 shares of stock XYZ at $25.50 with his own cash and the stock goes to $25.60 and he sells his 5,000 shares, he makes $500.) The problem is that, because of technology, they are participating in fewer trades. That makes it harder to make up for losses incurred when they're forced to step in as a buyer of last resort. A year or two ago, specialists got involved in 12% to 15% of floor trades. Today, it's 8% to 9%. As an incentive for specialists to keep playing that role, the NYSE now pays them a monthly stipend for providing liquidity to the market.

The sagging fortunes of floor-based specialist firms is not due only to technology. The downfall has been speeded up by the profit-eating switch to penny trading spreads, a public relations fiasco following allegations of improper trading in 2003, and the ouster that same year of former NYSE CEO, and floor backer, Dick Grasso, amid a furor about his sizable pay package.

In their heyday, specialists were the centerpiece of the open-outcry auction market. The job entails making a market in a stock, fleshing out the best price, and ensuring that shares trade orderly and fairly. It also means stepping in as a buyer or seller of last resort to avoid sharp, scary price swings. The value of specialists was reinforced last month when erroneous orders for three stocks were flagged by floor pros, resulting in a trading halt that saved investors a lot of money."

Will It Blend? iPhone Edition.

Kids, TV, and Video Games

Here's one for all you parents who can't figure out how to entertain your kids without TV or video games.

For us, it's pretty easy. We don't watch TV (I'm rather forced to watch CNBC from time to time during the day) and so our daughter doesn't care about it. She finds the TV about as interesting as any other piece of furniture in the house. Which means, at this stage, that she's more apt to try and climb on the TV than sit "zombie faced" in front of it.

Anyway, check out this No-Impact Man post on entertaining children sans TV.

Congressman Mark Kirk Is A Coward

Watch as Congressman Mark Kirk refuses to even acknowledge this Iraq vet when asked about his position on the war.

I mean, don't just ignore the guy. Aren't our elected representatives suppossed to do just that, "represent" us? When did they get so high that they refuse to even speak to their constituents?

If he's afraid of the camera and doesn't want to be "zinged" at least have the balls to turn to the guy, say "I'll talk to you but not on camera" and put the ball back in the cameraman's court. As it is, it just looks like cowardice, nothing more, nothing less.

I read a great biography about Teddy Roosevelt not so long ago. There were days where he would just shake hands and talk to "the people" all day in front of the White House. Can you imagine?